After dazzling audiences with probably one of the best début features in years, with the sci-fi love in, Moon, director Duncan Jones faces up to the painful reality of making the "difficult second film". Source Code tells the tale of Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) as he's sent into the past through a mysterious device known as - yes you guessed it - the Source Code. Through the machine he must figure out how to prevent a terrorist incident and a further attack on the city of Chicago - seemingly Hollywood's city of choice for filming everything these days - all in the time frame of eight minutes before starting all over again.
If you asked me to describe Source Code, it would be like watching Groundhog Day crossed with The Matrix with some Philip K Dick thrown in for good measure. However, that's barely even the half of it. Progressively the film's bigger mystery, unravels like a modern day Hitchcock thriller, beautifully carried by some terrific and, at times, even pretty heart-wrenching performances from Jake Gyllenhaal, Vera Farmiga and Michelle Monaghan. I really don't want to give too much away because the twists are excellent and the more existential themes explored are intelligently done.
Jake Gyllenhaal particularly is certainly carving a real niche for himself as a bit of a everyman's hero, instantly likeable and overly sympathetic given his situation. Also the romance which brews with Michelle Monaghan works really well, harking back, at times, to Matt Damon and Emily Blunt's chemistry in last month's sci-fi romance, The Adjustment Bureau.
On a technical level, Jones managed to balance the tension of the brief time frame given to the main protagonist to solve this devious plot, with the ability of actually developing the character himself and the surrounding characters on the train masterfully - ending in a real upbeat note. The themes, Jones covers in Source Code actually resemble his début film at times, and also in his ability to use such confined sets in their fullest. Also you have to appreciate his use of the camera in the more action driven scenes, which is reminiscent of Christopher Nolan's work on Inception. Special mention must go to Chris Bacon's rather moving and emotional score, especially in the closing moments of the film.
On reflection Source Code would also work tremendously well as an entertaining, morally challenging, action-packed TV series. Like Quantum Leap with more explosions! Would be such an idea...
A tidy, tense, refreshing and absolutely bloody fantastic sci-fi thriller of the highest standards. Duncan Jones follows up his brilliant début with one of the best films of the year so far. Jake Gyllenhaal leads the line well once again, showing off his action credentials brilliantly. Can't wait to see it again - praise can't get much better than that, from me, I assure you.
Source Code is in cinemas everywhere now.